Northwest Norman has a new addition to its ever-widening selection of eateries. Volcano Sushi Bar and Hibachi recently opened their fourth metro location at 3700 W. Robinson St., Suite No. 164 in Brookhaven Village. The space was last occupied by Coolgreens, an upscale salad joint. Another restaurant was there before that.
In 2012, Hang Chen (Henry) opened the first Volcano in Moore. Next were stores in OKC and Del City. Lisa Han manages his Norman location.
Volcano's red brick storefront is part of a mini-plaza that shares a leafy common area with a Starbucks and Crown Fine Jewelers. Its location has the disadvantage of not being visible from either Robinson Street or 36th Avenue NW where the shopping center is situated. But there's plenty of free parking and easy access to Volcano from any of the Brookhaven Village entrances. The place has an added benefit of already having an established customer base from due north.
"Actually most of our customers here aren't new," Han said. "They're from our Moore location. Since we've opened, business has been really good. It's getting better and better every day."
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many Volcano customers from as far away as Blanchard who were driving to Moore now stop in Norman instead.
"Our customers are very nice," Han said. "We like this new location in Norman."
The wait staff and chefs are a mix of young men and women. English and Mandarin are both spoken at Volcano for certain, and probably other languages as well. The restaurant's interior design is contemporary with a mix of tile and natural stone in varying shades of gray. It's not a white table cloth place, but the dining areas are immaculately attractive with comfortably sized tables and chairs. There is bar seating as well where you can watch sushi being expertly prepared.
Volcano has a full liquor license. The menu is ostensibly Japanese but might best be categorized as Okie-Asian -- the flavors have simply been adjusted for Western tastes.
"Our customers say our food is good and the prices are low, too," Han said. "The Lucky Lady roll is one of their favorites."
That's a menu item listed under "Volcano Special Rolls." It's shrimp tempura, cream cheese and avocado topped with a crab stick. There are little fish, chili pepper and star symbols next to menu entries designating if they contain fish eggs, spicy taste or have been cooked. Some of the sushi roll names are amusing. You can eat "Godzilla," a "Dancing Chicken," or a "Lover." Rolls named "Texas Bomb" and "AK 47" are spicy tuna, jalapeno, cucumber and red snapper or shrimp tempura and deep fried soft shell crab respectively.
"Some people are afraid to try raw fish but they find out that they really like it," Han said.
Fresh fish is flown in from Texas to Volcano twice a week. It's sushi-grade seafood that's never been frozen.
"Our owner has trained each of our chefs," Han said.
Diners who aren't sushi fans have plenty to consider on Volcano's hibachi side of the menu. There are soups, salads, rice and noodle dishes and several grilled steak, chicken and shrimp options.
"You may pick your meat to be grilled and they come in a big bowl with rice or noodles and vegetables," Han said. "They are stir-fried dishes with a sauce on them."
There's a vegan stir fry with broccoli, carrots, mushroom, zucchini and onion. Chicken or pork katsu is a schnitzel-like breaded cutlet served with soup, salad and white rice. Japanese fried rice and Seafood Udon noodle bowls are tempting along with a Scallop Tempura.
As Han noted, her customers know the price is right. The most expensive item at Volcano is grilled lobster at $20.95. Sushi rolls, rice and noodle bowls average out at 10 bucks and the grilled meat combo platters around $15. Midday "Volcano Lunch Box" is $7.95 with choices of sushi, sashimi or tempuras with soup, salad and rice arranged in little sectioned boxes Japanese student-style.
"Customers come in to get lunch boxes to go," Han said.
Save room for dessert. There are several choices including green tea ice cream, Crème Brulee, and Fried Banana. Naturally, Volcano also serves Chocolate Lava Cake.
Volcano Sushi Bar and Hibachi
3700 W Robinson St Suite 164, Norman